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November 19
2003 - U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon introduces the first of several bills intended to block the 78-million-ton Cemex gravel mine in Soledad Canyon [story]


You can hardly call Shannon Murakami’s 2016 season a comeback when she’s been around all decade long.1770980

Murakami started winning races and setting records years before Saugus’ 10-year streak of state cross country championships began.

Of all the performances she’s run over the last 13 years, none were more impressive than the two she put together this weekend though.

Her first test came at the Oxy Distance Carnival in Los Angeles on a cold, wet Friday evening, where she ran an electrifying final two miles to earn a 13-second win over former UCLA teammate Kelsey Smith in the 5,000-meter run. Her time of 15 minutes, 54.08 seconds is her first time under the 16-minute barrier, and only Lauren Fleshman – one of the United States all-time greats – has run faster in Santa Clarita Valley history.

Less than 22 hours later, she traveled some 32 miles south to run the mile at the Ben Brown Invitational at Cal State Fullerton. The race was hardly a competition, as she led from the gun, winning by a whopping 15 seconds in another personal best of 4:41.98.

It’s not the times that particularly stand out; it’s how she did it.

Yes, Murakami’s 15:54.08 5K now ranks No. 2 in Santa Clarita Valley history – only behind Lauren Fleshman – and yes, her mile of 4:41.98 converts to 4:40.34 for 1,600 meters, No. 3 in SCV history – only behind Fleshman and Sheila Van Leeuwen – but she completely dominated both fields in a way we haven’t seen since she won her fifth and sixth CIF Southern Section Division 1 Championships way back in 2007.

In the 12.5-lap event at Occidental College, she ran in cruise control until about lap six. That’s when she made her move, motoring away from Smith, Cal Coast Track Club’s Makenna Smith, and Southwestern Community College’s Aminat Olowora.

Her mile splits in that race?

5:08, 5:04, 4:59 with a 35.8 final 200 meters!

She also set two other personal bests in her 5K win last Friday, passing 3K in 9:21 and 3,200 meters in 10:03, an impressive feat considering she ran the final half of the race on her own. What a weekend for Murakami!

But Murakami, the 2005 CIF State Cross Country Div. 1 Champion, wasn’t done yet.

She made the trip to Cal State Fullerton less than 22 hours later and completely dominated the mile. Leading from the gun, Murakami clicked off 400-meter splits of 70.4, 70.7, 71.5 and 69.2 to win in 4:41.98, nearly 15 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Alisha Brown.

That mark also converts to 4:40.34 for 1,600 meters, lowering Murakami’s 4:42.50 personal best, which dates back to the 2007 CIF Southern Section Track & Field Division 1 Championships. On that day, she won by 16 seconds.

Her performances last weekend add to a spectacular 2016 season so far, where she set the SCV record for five miles at the Ben’s Ten race (28:32), broke Fleshman’s 17-year-old SCV 3,200-meter record (10:09.29), won the Placerita Canyon Holiday 5K in a course record time (17:01), and clocked the second fastest mark up the Beast (40:06).

No one should be surprised with Murakami’s recent success.

Remember when I said she’s been at the top of SCV athletics for 13 years now?

Don’t call it a comeback, she’s always been here.
Shannon Murakami’s 2016 season so far:
Personal bests:
1,600 meters – 4:40.34 (en-route to mile PR)
Mile – 4:41.98
3K – 9:21 (en-route to 5K PR)
3,200 meters – 10:03 (en-route to 5K PR)
5,000 meters – 15:54.08

SCV leading times:
1,500 meters – 4:21 (en-route to mile PR)
1,600 meters – 4:40.34 (en-route to mile PR)
Mile – 4:41.98
3K – 9:21 (en-route to 5K PR)
3,200 meters – 10:03 (en-route to 5K PR)
5,000 meters – 15:54.08

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